By Geoff Case
The Dallas Mavericks are stuck in a free fall that has many wondering what the next step will be? It has been only 19 months since Dallas celebrated its first championship, but it feels like forever ago. The team was once thought to be a contender that was a few pieces away from reloading to become a real threat to win the West. Now, after suffering one of the worst seasons in 15 years they might be better off rebuilding the entire roster. The losses are mounting and even the head coach is wondering when the bleeding will stop. “This sucks and there’s no other way to explain it more than that. Every loss hurts. …Things like this come in waves,” said Rick Carlisle. “There will be more of these.”
The veteran team is constantly shooting itself in the foot with crunch time turnovers and missed defensive assignments. The lowlights include a six-game losing streak, the team’s longest since dropping seven-straight in February, 1999, a year before Mark Cuban bought the team. To make matters worse, five of the six losses came by double digits and four of the six were embarrassing loses to Miami and Oklahoma City, and two to especially tough outings against rival San Antonio. The Mavericks are doing enough to be competitive in games but ultimately cannot sustain the effort to secure the win.
Do the Mavs Rebuild or Reload?
The Mavericks are in a position to do both. They don’t have attractive assets so they would have to sign a potential superstar via free agency, period. They are in a position to offer a significant contract. Only Nowitzki, Vince Carter (a team option), Marion and rookies Bernard James, Jared Cunningham and Jae Crowder are under contract for the 2013-14 season. That leaves the Mavericks open to going after some big fish. However, if this season has taught us anything it’s that they are more than one accompanying superstar away from being a contender. In fact, it might be Dwight Howard or bust for the Mavs especially after seeing how far they’ve fallen defensively.
1/10 @ Sacramento Kings: The Mavericks are on par with the Kings talent-wise and the addition of Dirk makes this game a must win for Mavericks.
1/12 Memphis Grizzlies: The Grizzlies kill most teams on the boards and the Mavericks would be hard pressed to expect to come away with any extra possessions in this one.
1/14 Minnesota Timberwolves: A winnable game depending on the status of Kevin Love and the home crowd will help. Dirk will have to score 30+ in this contest for the Mavericks to come away with a victory.
1/16 Houston Rockets: James Harden simply does what he wants against the Mavericks. If Dirk can match his offensive output then the Mavericks will have a shot.